The total number of single claims in the period from April to June 2014 was 3,792, which is 70% fewer than for the same period last year and around a third lower than the figures for single claims in the previous quarter.
This is the third consecutive period for which there has been a significant reduction in the number of claims. Such a sharp drop can only be explained by the introduction of a fee for an individual to lodge a claim in the employment tribunal (with a further fee payable if it reaches a hearing) for the first time in July 2013. Figures showing the proportion of claims succeeding at tribunal (which has remained virtually static) do not support the Government’s assertion that the introduction of fees has merely had the effect of weeding out vexatious claims.
A copy of the quarterly tribunal statistics is available here.
It is likely that these statistics will lend weight to UNISON’s appeal against the High Court’s decision earlier this year to reject its challenge to the introduction of fees. The Court of Appeal is due to hear the case later this year.
ACAS early conciliation
ACAS has also published its first quarterly update on early conciliation, which was introduced in April 2014 and was compulsory from May 2014. Individuals who are seeking to bring a claim in an employment tribunal are now required to lodge details of the claim with ACAS first.
According to this update, ACAS is receiving in the region of 6,500 to 7,000 notifications per month. Of those notifications, 7% of employees and 9% of employers did not want to pursue conciliation, whereas 16% of notifications settled during the early conciliation period.